Break the status quo at UA

Alex Jobin, Staff Columnist

As a somewhat insular community, The University of Alabama has some unspoken norms. We are a diverse school with students from all over the country, and even from across the globe, but when you set foot onto the Capstone, you gain another identity as part of the Crimson Tide. 

Some of these traditions are what make this place so special. I encourage you to visit a Rama Jama’s crawfish boil, tailgate on the Quad before a game day, and sing along to the fight song at the top of your lungs. However, not every norm is meant to be embraced; this is meant to be a place where you expand your horizons, not where you confine yourself or bend to fit the status quo.

Besides cheering on the Tide every Saturday in the fall, you may find yourself pressured to mirror other norms you will encounter at the University. From fashion trends and beauty standards to Greek life and party culture, there are a myriad of stereotypes and silhouettes that this environment knowingly or unknowingly tries to squeeze you into. 

Some norms at the Capstone are even downright problematic. The consistent platforming of ideals not reflected in the Capstone Creed may not be listed on the brochure you received, but these are unfortunate realities that stain an otherwise incredible campus. 

“Tradition” is no excuse for perpetuating norms of bigotry and misconduct. Instead, such traditions should be challenged so that new trails can be blazed.

It may sound corny, but you — yes, you — can be the change here at the University. You do not need to accept these cultural pitfalls as inevitable or unbreakable. It takes a collective acceptance of the status quo to maintain these unseemly traditions, and every freshman class — yours included — has the option to rewrite the norms at this University. 

Choose to call out “the Machine” for what it is, choose to fight back against bigotry on campus, and choose to elect people to student government who will do the same. Real change will only come to this campus when new students decide that they want something different, that they want progress.

Here at The Crimson White, it feels as though we cycle through the same stories of bigotry and corruption at the Capstone every year. Even though many of us continue to advocate for something new, something different, those efforts fail to stick as norms remain in place and new students step in to fill the roles that their predecessors left behind.

You have the choice, and you have the ability — the ability to affect culture, reputation, and the status quo. You are the next leaders of this university, and you can change it for the better if you so desire. I believe you can, and I hope you do.